We are coming to the end of the turf season and having had such a fantastic first half of the season, life was always going to be tougher as we headed into late summer/autumn and we were not helped by a nasty virus that affected a fair proportion of the string. However, the winners have continued to flow and we are now on 34 WINNERS for 2019 and have surpassed £415,000 in prize money, our best campaign in some time.
Chestnut filly CRYSTAL CASQUE has had a fantastic season with three victories and recorded back to back wins at Sandown and Kempton, receiving very good rides from top 7lb claimer Angus Villiers. She is an absolute model of consistency for her owners ‘The Dirham Partnership’ and in seven consecutive starts she has had three wins, two seconds and two thirds. In a bid for the hat-trick at Kempton this evening, she got bumped at the start and ended up having a very wide trip throughout and the effort can be safely forgotten but her excellent attitude will always stand her in good stead.
We have been really struggling with a horrible virus that refused to be shifted which was extremely frustrating as those suffering missed the busiest part of the season and it has taken the individuals concerned about three months to get over the bug. However, it has meant that we have had some fresher horses for the autumn and luckily three have come back to win.
The first of those was two-year-old ABLE KANE who made the long journey up to Beverley a successful one at the end of September. This imposing son of Due Diligence, the Whitsbury Manor Stud stallion who has made a fantastic start for a first season sire with three Stakes winners, is a half-sister to our ultra-tough five-year-old mare SWEET PURSUIT, a seven-time winner for the yard. He surprised us by showing so much ability on his debut when fifth at Windsor and arguably he should have won on his second start at Salisbury but ended up on the wrong side of the track. The virus struck and he was off for 105 days before making all the running at Beverly to win a shade comfortably on very soft ground. He is very much a horse for the future so it is extremely exciting he has managed to win at two and he may have one more run before the turf season ends.
Progressive three-year-old handicapper MANDOCELLO shaped with promise in his three qualifying races and duly won nicely at Windsor on Handicap debut back in May and we were really looking forward to him making his way through the ranks. Unfortunately, he was then struck down by the virus and when he returned in August, he still wasn’t quite a hundred percent in two average runs so we gave him another five weeks off and he came good when winning very nicely at Bath at the end of September. A shortage of opportunities means he will head straight to Tattersalls Sales on the back of that Bath success and he remains very well treated off 73 and will make a nice dual-purpose horse for someone.
Another horse that also travels up to Tattersalls Sales next week is potentially one of the best horses that we have trained and that is the very useful three-year-old son of Dalakhani, PRINCE OF HARTS. Bred by Harts Farm Stud, he is out of the wonderful broodmare Reaf and we have trained her offspring to win fifteen races, including the ultra-tough racemare TAWS (seven time winner, runner-up in Queen Alexandra at Royal Ascot) and DUKE OF BRONTE (winner of £100,000 Handicap at Ascot and placed in Listed Company). With that family history, we know just how they tick but he surprised us by being sharp enough to have his three qualifying runs at two, showing promise to earn an official rating of 70. That precociousness meant we started his campaign over a mile at Wolverhampton and he readily won a six-runner contest, putting the race to bed entering the home straight. Stepped up to ten furlongs in a competitive three-year-old handicap at Sandown, he just didn’t quite get home and we subsequently dropped him back to a mile as he was still a bit weak both mentally and physically for the further distances his pedigree suggests he will relish. Sticking to a mile, he progressed nicely, not often having a great deal of luck but he picked up a nice prize at Nottingham in June and headed to Ascot for a £45,000 handicap at the end of July. There he settled nicely at the back of the field and stayed on stoutly to chase home the very useful Flashcard (subsequently third in a Group 3) and he was all ready to step back up to ten furlongs for some valuable contests. Unfortunately, he came down with the virus and he had to have time off turned out in the paddock to recover and he’s missed an important part of the season. Eighty-six days after Ascot, he was just about ready to go again at Windsor on Monday and with the ground heavy, we decided to return over a mile as he would have benefitted from another couple of weeks to be at his best but down in grade he produced a very impressive performance to beat Saikung by a length with a further six back to the third. He won off a mark of 83 but has been given a Racing Post Rating of 96 so imagine he will go up to around 91/92. However, with his profile, it is likely that he will be very attractive to a foreign market at the Sales on Tuesday and while we would love to keep him in the yard, Windsor may have been his last run for us. In a very sad end to the day, the owners lost Reaf, as she passed away at the age of 21. A wonderful broodmare for both the yard and her owners and we can certainly say it has been a pleasure to train her quality offspring and hopefully we will be able to find future stars to replace such a wonderful family.
And on that note, Rod, James and Lou have been very busy at the yearling sales trying to find those future stars and we currently have quite a few available to buy into for next season. With the relaunch of our Racing Club for 2020, we will be holding an Open Morning on Sunday November 3rd at 10:30am where the yearlings and the club horses will be paraded so it will be a great opportunity to come and take a look around the yard, learn more about us and hopefully get involved with the team!